Did you know that children growing up in homes with at least 20 books get three years more schooling than children from bookless homes, independent of their parents’ education, occupation and class? Today (September 8th) is International Literacy Day, and we are taking the opportunity to stress the importance of beginning to teach your children to read as soon as possible.
Here are some classroom/home activities you can take part in while celebrating International Literacy Day, provided by internationalliteracyday.org:
Create a scavenger hunt where the answers are found in a book. This keeps your child active, engaged and critically thinking while making a game out of learning.
Encourage children to read as many books as possible within a certain time period (a day, a week, a month, etc.). Help them to track the books they are reading and monitor their progress on a chart to show how much they’ve read over time.
Have any old books you want to toss out? Host a book sale/exchange at your school, or even in your driveway à la garage sale. This is an inexpensive way to not only find new books for your child to love, but spread the love of reading to even more children in your community.
Host a writing competition within your family and provide a special theme. You can even make it more challenging by developing a list of required vocabulary words to include in the story. First prize? A trip to your local bookstore!
Character Dress Up Day
Children love playing dress-up! Have your children read a book, pick their favorite character and dress up like that character for a day. Your child can write a short summary on why they decided to dress as that character, or challenge them to use vocabulary that character would likely use.
Provide children with a template for a comic strip and art supplies–their imagination can take care of the rest!
80% of preschool and afterschool programs serving low-income populations have no age-appropriate books for their children. Our partner agency, BookSpring, is an organization that works to provide reading experiences, tools and books to children and their families, so they can develop a desire to read and succeed in school and life. Through their ReBook program, you can recycle your children’s gently used books by dropping them off at one of BookSpring’s offices. You can drop off books anytime between 10 and 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, or call to make an appointment for another time. Books collected during book drives allow BookSpring to provide books to children all over Austin.
Every child deserves the chance to develop an extensive vocabulary and love for reading. By supporting United Way for Greater Austin and BookSpring, you are helping low-income kids in Austin start Kindergarten with the critical skills they’ll need to learn to read and succeed in school.
Are you participating in International Literacy Day? Use the hashtag #IntLiteracyDay and tag us @UWATX so we can share your fun ideas!